A Week In the Life of a Software Engineering Intern

Week 1: New to Seattle — Just Settling in.

Meet Malik. He is a college student and summer intern at Zillow. This is how his first week went:

My first day went well. Zillow keeps their orientation short, which was a pleasant change from what I was used to because the last company I interned for would set aside an entire day just for their new-hire orientation.

Even though I knew that the culture at Zillow was very chill and that I could wear whatever was comfortable for me, I was very conscious about how I was dressed on my first day. It seemed like everyone else in my orientation session was dressed much more professionally than me on day one. But, it was also my first day so I was probably just hyper aware of everything around me.

Zillow gave all of us our own work computers, which was expected. But what wasn’t expecting was for them to give us 2016 Space Gray Macbook Pros with the touch bars! Even though I already have a 2015 Macbook Pro, I still geeked out because mine isn’t space gray nor does it have a touch bar.

After orientation, I got to meet my team. We went out for dumplings at Chinese restaurant where I got a chance to get to know my manager and team members. They all seemed super cool and ready to help at any point. I got to know my mentor, Caleb, and a fellow team member, Marshall, as we bonded over basketball and a video game called 2K. I am already really liking the culture here at Zillow.

In terms of work, the first couple of days were overwhelming. It was information overload! My mentor told me where I’m supposed to commit code, how to compile/run code, what my team works on, and where my tasks live. I had to learn all of this in just a couple of days! It’s not that I have never experienced this type of pressure before because I have had to take on similar tasks at my previous internships, but Zillow is much larger than my previous companies in terms of tech.

My best recommendation to any one at this point is to write things down. I made sure to write down as much as possible because I didn’t want to have to ask my mentor every time I had a question about how to do things like compiling code — even though he assured me that I could do that. My goal is to get a return offer from Zillow and I feel like I have to be as independent as possible in order to get that offer. I love that everyone is here to have a good time while working on Zillow products, and I think I can see myself working here full-time.

I’m not sure what my project will be over the summer but to be honest, I’m not sure about a lot of things. Right now, I’m not sure how to do my job quite yet, but that’s to be expected. My mentor said it took weeks for him to feel like he knew what he was doing. Seeing as I’ve only completed one week, I’ve got some time so I’m not too worried.